Bureau Classic - Caran d'Ache 849 pen
Bureau Classics

Bureau Classics No 2 – Caran d’Ache 849

Bureau Classics No.2
Bureau Classic - Caran d'Ache 849 pen
The iconic Caran d'Ache 849 pen

“contemporary, fun and casual”


We love a classic design, one that lasts the test of time and we realised a few years back that this was one stationery classic that had slipped through the net. We remedied that little oversight and have been stocking the Caran d’Ache 849 pen since. It has a simple, modern style to it, with no frills or fuss. A hexagonal shaped barrel that serves two easily overlooked but very important purposes. Firstly, it acts as a grip section but without the need to add a separate element to the pen, keeping the styling sleek and streamlined. Secondly, it means that the pen won’t roll, so no rolling off the table and losing it.

We also love how Caran d’Ache has kept the 849 pen fresh and exciting with constant revisions, including limited editions for Paul Smith and more upmarket versions in a unique gift tin that has the look of Han Solo being frozen in carbonite.

Paul Smith Caran d'Ache 849 pen
The limited edition Paul Smith 849 pen


The Caran d’Ache 849 was first made in 1969 and has been made in various designs ever since. It is a flagship pen for them, the emblematic pen in their office range. And it is easy to see why – it is an easy pen to keep around, everything about it is unfussy and so using it is just easy. Even the click mechanism to extend the refill is more of a soft action than your typical hard click. A trivial point but an indication of its attention to detail.

Item Number
First Launched
First Stocked At Bureau
Will Write How Many A4 Pages

Did you know?

The name Caran d’Ache is actually a play on words. The company is Swiss and was formed in 1915 and renamed in 1924 after a 19th Century French satirical political cartoonist called Emmanuel Poiré, but who worked under the pseudonym Caran d’Ache. This name was taken from the Russian word karandash which means pencil (see, it all starts to make sense now!) and apparently the Russian word itself is taken from a Turkish word kara taş which means ‘black stone’.

Made in Switzerland - The Caran d'Ache 849 pen
Made in Switzerland - The Caran d'Ache 849 pen

Where to buy it

the journal shop stand

London Stationery Show 2017

the journal shop stand

The London stationery show has been a staple of the Bureau calendar for many a year now.

It’s situated in the functional Business Design Centre where once a year, stationery geeks gather to share the best and newest in the biz. This event also coincides with National Stationery Week which quite simply celebrates what we all love – stationery 🙂 #natstatweek

It is a trade show so unfortunately not open to the public. So Mishka, Emma and Faisal were tasked with being your eyes and ears 🙂 Here is what they have to report.

business design centre

Our expectations

We all had differing expectations. Mishka now has two Stationery Shows under her belt, Faisal’s second time out and rookie on the block Emma.

Mishka: Half of our team visited on Tuesday, me and Faisal went on Wednesday. This was my 3rd show in a row, so I knew what to expect – lots of amazing stationery! 🙂 I knew time would be tight so I did my homework. Carefully clicking through all the exhibitors (100+), I made a list of stands I wanted to visit and products I wanted to see.

Some things never change – it is the same beautiful venue. This year there were a lot of workshops – I was particularly interested in trying Calligraphy. #writingmatters

Faisal: To be quite frank, I was feeling a little down on going to the London Stationery Show this year. I remembered enjoying my first time out to the show last year but would it be any different this time around? How much could really change over the course of the year? These doubts had begun to brew, possibly unfairly, as I am surrounded by the same old stuff on my desk.

With this mindset, I hadn’t actually planned to go around and explore the show floor too much, thinking there wouldn’t really be much new to see anyway. I settled on killing my time with a safe looking programme of seminars and workshops that would be running throughout the day.

Emma: I only joined Bureau Direct late last year, so this was my first London Stationery Show. I have been to trade shows before, but I have always wanted to go to a stationery trade show! Having heard all about it from the rest of the team, I was really excited to be getting a first look at some new products, meeting with some of my clients, and generally geeking out over lots of lovely pens and paper goods!


National Stationery Show 2017 - hall


london stationery show at the business design centre


National Stationery Show

First Impressions

Emma: I have been to the Business Design Centre in Islington before; its a lovely venue with lots of natural light, and not too big.  I confidently told the rest of the team I would visit the show in the morning, and be back after lunch (needless to say, that didn’t happen. What was I thinking?!). When you first enter the venue, there is a smallish floor space at ground floor level, and then steps behind leading up to a central mezzanine where the bulk of the exhibitors were.  There were also additional exhibitors on the balconies surrounding the hall. Immediately, my eye was drawn to a central New Product Showcase display, with lots of new launches, and from there on in I tried to work my way up and down the aisles is a logical way, without being too distracted!

Mishka: Me and Faisal were in on the Wednesday, as soon as we entered we were met with the display of stationery award winners which were whittled down from the same stand a day earlier. There was a spectacular range of colour this year – lucky cat pencil pot immediately caught my eye. I love everything teal/mint, so I was glad to see #everythingteal

Faisal: Lucky for me then that the Stationery Gods (and Mishka) had other arrangements to my earlier pessimism. Walking through the open doors, you start to feel an extra bounce to your step with your eyes wide and ears pricked. We both took a deep breath and a good whiff of the scent of freshly opened stationery in the air. There’s no turning back once you’ve opened this Pandora’s box. Everything looked fresh and new but I felt right at home, ready to explore!

calligraphy workshop

Calligraphy workshop

Emma: I had wanted to go to the show on the first (Tuesday) morning, because there was a Modern Calligraphy workshop being held by Manuscript pens and Joyce Lee of Artsynibs. Its a tall order trying to teach a mixed ability group in the middle of a trade show, in 30 mins, but Joyce was incredibly patient (and fun!), teaching us to sit in the right position, hold the dip pens the right way, and most importantly, relax, and BREATHE.  We each came away with a couple of practice sheets and the basics with which to start practising; seeing examples of Joyce’s beautiful calligraphy has certainly inspired me.

Faisal: Having only amateurishly attempted calligraphy for a few minutes, a couple of months ago, hastily on some scraps of paper… this was a brilliant chance to get an initial step up to the table.

The one big thing I took away from that day was the posture. To help keep your writing steady you need a solid position for your arm on the table. Achieving this means angling your chair into the desk so your elbow has a good position on the table. I would have never in my life ever conceived this simple step would instantly improve all my strokes!

Mishka: I can proudly announce that by 10:35 our clean fingers were already splattered in ink 🙂 Joyce is an amazing artist and great teacher. Slowing down and being mindful about every stroke is what makes calligraphy almost zen like. I’d love to just sit there and play with flex dip pens all day… We were discussing printing paper templates at the table – you know you are in the good company when gsm comes up 🙂

Bureau’s Best Bits

Mishka: Paper Republic Grand Voyageur – notebook with leather cover. Similar to Traveler’s notebook which is incredibly trendy at the moment. Packaging, colours (green with red), presentation, sizes and functionality. Everything about this product presses all my stationery buttons…

The most fun stationery of the show award goes to the magnetic Polar pen. We probably spent an hour making shapes and launching magnets in the air and we continue to do so even as I write this 🙂 Andrew, the creator of the pen is a true inventor with plenty of ideas up his sleeve. I really hope to see his creations doing well…

I was eager to try out the Pentel Hybrid gel pens which Emma told me about the day before. These gels are rather magical. Believe it or not, but they look differently on white and black paper. Green turns into blue, black into red etc – whaaat?! Amazing! Imagine Emerald of Chivor ink in a gel pen 🙂 I salute you Pentel…Year in and year out you come up with new ideas, really well done!

Paper Republic - Leather!

Paper Republic stand leather covers

POLAR pens - Magnets!

polar pen magnet fun

Emma: Stabilo Boss Pastel Highlighters. They looked so pretty in the display, and gorgeously photogenic. I have a set of four, but now I realise there are actually six in the range. Two more for my shopping list…

The Karlbox. A collaboration between fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld and Faber-Castell, this is the ultimate art set. West Design had a box on display at the show, and I couldn’t help but drool a little over it. Designed like a lacquer jewellery box, each drawer is organised by colour with pencils, markers, pastels and art pens – the entire rainbow. It has a limited production run, and retails at least £2000, but its oh so covetable!

Getting to make my own pen on the Kaweco stand!  I got to choose a cap, grip section, barrel and fit them together. A couple of satisfying ‘clunks’ from their hand-operated machines, hey presto! My very own Kaweco Skyline was born.

Stabilo Boss Pastel

Stabilo Boss Pastel highlighters

The Karlbox

Faber-Castell The KarlBox

Faisal: As a veteran of one previous show so far this was also a must do event for me. Last year we had a whole plastic barrel of fun with the Studio Pen team and had an awesome collage of how we made them. This year me and Mishka wanted to step up our game and bring you a live demonstration! It was all going so well, we got the camera rolling and the machine clunking away.

It’s hard to pick my favourite but I will go out and say I had the most fun with the Polar magnet pen. Even though it will be rarely used to write with, it’s was just an absolute joy to have and play with! Perfect for a quick stress relieving break in the office.

Special mention

Mishka: The best writer of the show goes to Manuscript 1856 pen.
This was on my ‘must see’ list after browsing online the night before. Manuscript hosted the Calligraphy event in the morning so as soon I waved goodbye to Joyce it took all my strength to stick to my planned route instead of running straight to their stand.

Let me tell you…It was love at the first sight. Each pen is turned by hand. The materials look spectacular. They have a choice for everyone, starting with a professional pocket percher in black. I was a bit dismissive of the beige but looking at it closely I saw the subtle elegance of the material, showing up like the calm looking surface of Saturn. The real stars of the show were the pearlescent and swirly type acrylics. Purple and turquoise finishes for the chic and red and orange for the brave.

I ran home with one in my bag, eager to ink it up and boy oh boy… Smooth like butter. Steel nibs can be as smooth as gold and this pen is exactly that. Big win in my book 🙂

Manuscript 1856 fountain pen
Manuscript 1856 fountain pen

In conclusion

Mishka: I’m so glad that I could go to the show – my creative juices and love for stationery have been refuelled 🙂 Big thanks to the organizers, we had a great show!

Emma: The show was everything I expected, and more.  I ended up spending the whole day there, catching up with some of my contacts at Castelli, Moleskine and Caran d’Ache/Faber-Castell, playing with new products, and looking for stationery items that can be branded for our corporate clients.

Faisal: I was happily swayed by the end of the day, the Stationery show was great. These sorts of events just give you a breath of fresh air and sometimes that’s all you need. Actually, I wish I had more time to peruse the stalls. Unlike my colleagues I don’t think I even got around to seeing half of the stands really. Perhaps a bit too much time playing with magnets… 🙂

Faisal, Mishka and Emma

ps: we will see you again next year 🙂

polarpen smiley magnets
Lamy Safari Petrol fountain pen and ink

Lamy Safari Petrol – 2017 Special Edition

Hi folks,

It’s here, it’s here!!! Lamy Safari Petrol is here!

Fountain pens come with black Fine or Medium nib (feel free to add any Z50/Z52 nibs of course). They have matt finish, just like Dark Lilac pens.

There are Roller-balls and Ball-point pens too. Ink comes in T10 cartridges and T52 bottles. Don’t forget to add a Z28 converter if you are getting a bottled version.

Petrol colour is gorgeous murky, dark teal-green B) similar to Sailor Miruai. It shows a slight sheen on Tomoe River paper. It’s mature, subtle, perfect everyday ink <3

BTW if you wonder about shipping cost – we use Royal Mail Airmail service for orders outside UK and you can check the cost in the shopping basket before you place the order.


Lamy Safari Petrol fountain pen and ink
Lamy Safari Petrol fountain pen and ink
president trump signing executive order with cross pen

All the President’s Pens

president trump signing executive order with cross pen

Donald Trump's Choice

When Donald Trump recently started being photographed signing various Executive Orders, the Bureau Direct office took an obvious interest in the pen he was using. Turns out it was a Cross Century II rollerball which then prompted the question – what pen does the President usually use? And what about other world leaders? Do they choose a pen manufactured in their own country? Are they free gifts? Is it their own pen? Well after a little research, it seems the answers vary quite a bit but for sure, the pen has been present at many interesting occasions, often proving the maxim that the pen is mightier than the sword.

The Treaty of Versailles, which brought an end to the First World War, was signed by Lloyd George, British Prime Minister with a Waterman Ideal fountain pen. A Waterman was also the writing instrument of choice for King Edward VIII in 1936 when he signed his abdication. Neither of these men were presidents though and where presidents and top ranking generals are concerned, the Parker Pen is king.

parker 51 pen
The Parker 51 Pen

Parker Pens - Choice Of Presidents Past

Parker was the original pen of choice for US presidents. An American company (though now the pens are made in France) they pop up at many key moments in history. The Parker 51, considered by many to be the best pen ever made, was present in the hand of General Dwight D Eisenhower, later President Eisenhower, when he signed the treaty that brought about the end of World War II. Actually he had two of the pens and, such was his disregard for the Nazis, he refused to be in the same room as them and had the pens sent in alone to be used.

A Parker 51 was also used by Field Marshal Montgomery when signing the terms of Germany’s surrender. Later still, Parker pens were used on board the USS Missouri to agree the surrender of Japan. The Parker Big Red Duofold was used by General MacArthur though it was his wife’s pen. He had it specially sent for to use for the historic signing. Admiral Nimitz went with tradition and used a Parker 51 for his part in the signing.

parker duofold pen
The Parker Duofold Pen

Parker pens went on to be used to sign arms reduction and peace treaties into the seventies, eighties and nineties. The Camp David accords, signed at the White House with the ubiquitous Parkers, brought about the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty and earned President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin the Nobel Peace Prize. Camp David incidentally, was named after President Eisenhower’s grandson as he felt the previous name -Shangri-La – a little too fancy for his tastes.

Parker’s involvement with peace in the Middle East continued with the Oslo Accords of 1993. Though negotiated with Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO’s Yasir Arafat, the actual agreements were signed with a Duofold Centennial rollerball at the White House by Bill Clinton, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas. Peres, Rabin and Arafat also went on to gain the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts though Rabin was assassinated the following year for his support.

parker pens used by presidents
Parker Pens - The Choice Of Presidents Down The Years

The Ceremonial Use Of Pens

Pens are also used in a somewhat ceremonial capacity to sign bills in to law by the President. Because of the historical nature of the event, several pens are used and then donated to those who have helped create the bill. This is a White House tradition that dates back many years. Barrack Obama signed the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) with 22 pens and Bill Clinton used 40 pens in 1997 for the Taxpayers Relief Act, all the pens then being passed on as gifts. Astonishingly though Lyndon Johnson was said to have used as many as 75 pens to sign in the Civil Rights Act in 1964, all for one signature! Unsurprisingly perhaps, JFK would write out his name in full, to make the task of using all those pens a little easier. George W Bush however preferred to use just the one pen for signing, hanging on to it and then sharing the unused pens as souvenirs.

Cross pens for the president
Cross pens waiting to be used for signing

Lately though the Parker has been dropped as the go to pen. German manufacturers Montblanc were said to be very unhappy when Bill Clinton not only used a fake Montblanc to sign in a bill, but then gave out other fakes as souvenirs. American brand Cross (mostly made in China these days) has been the presidential pen of choice for a while now which brings us back neatly to Donald Trump. Whether Cross are happy that their pens have gone from signing in Obamacare to the current executive orders is anybody’s guess. No doubt they would say it isn’t about politics. But still, don’t be surprised if there is a change of pen sometime quite soon.

president obama signing pen
President Obama signs an executive order

Through the Looking Glass Pen

Not satisfied with just one picture of the fabulous marbleised glass pens from J Herbin we went and took these rather nice close ups which show just how pretty these things are. In particular I love how the ink flowing down the grooves mirrors the marble pattern of the pen. We’ve also got a video of glass pens being made and a quick review after the jump.

The close-ups:

blue glass pen



How to make a glass pen and more

We also found this video by Steveokroma featuring glass worker artisan Janelle who shows how a glass pen is made and has some very interesting ideas for using them with products other than ink; it’s a great look at what goes into making a glass pen like this.

If the video is too long…

If you didn’t see the video, there are two very interesting ways in which you could also use the glass pen, either dipping it in drawing gum, which is basically a very thin liquid latex (art masking fluid), then writing something out, brushing on some ink, and then rubbing the latex off just with a finger once its dried, picks the writing out off the background. She also used a thin adhesive, such as that used for metal leaf to apply pigment powders or metal powder for some very cool writing effects.

Be careful though, we have not personally tested any of these methods, and there may be some products out there that won’t be good for the glass pen or hard to remove. With that said, experiment, and let us know if you have any ideas for ways to use these cool pens.

Our quick review:

glass pens

A pen that has been around since the mid-17th Century and still has its uses today, using one really does make you feel transported back in time. Beautifully marbleised these pens make a fantastically elegant addition to any stationery collection, and with its curves it’s actually quite a comfortable pen to hold.

A fluted nib

The pens have a spiral fluted nib, which allows the ink to sit in the pen’s nib letting it last a bit longer as it moves down to the end. Also when inked it provides a nice contrast with the marble effects in the pen itself. You can get at least a few lines out of it with each dip, but there will be a contrast in colour between the first word and the last.

Change colours quickly

Great for testing out lots of ink colours, doing drawings with several colours or doing invitations or letters in nice calligraphy and more. All you have to do to change colours is take a wet paper towel and wipe it off, or you can dip it in water, rubbing alcohol or ink remover and then wipe it off. This speed in changing between a lot of different colours is one of the main attractions of a pen like this.

If it feels a little rough

Writing with the pen itself might seem a little different at first, and it might take a little practice to get used to it. Sometimes the pen end might seem a little rougher than you like at first, this might be because they are handmade. However, if you want to you can take a bit of fine sand paper and give the tip a little rub to adjust the smoothness to your liking.

The glass pens also fit perfectly in the little groove that Herbin puts on their ink bottles to rest the pen on.


Overall these make a great indulgent addition to anyone’s collection, they’re fun to write with and perfect for trying lots of inks. For something quite so unique the price is also very reasonable too: click here to go to their page.


Staff Picks – Ohto Promecha Pen

Jo’s Choice

ohto promecha

This is my favourite pen right now and despite my being a bit fickle (only with stationery though), I think it will end up being a firm favourite. I must confess to being a non-fountain pen user – not that I don’t like them but I don’t like waiting for the ink to dry and all the smudging and so on. I have never really taken to rollerballs either so that leaves me with ballpoints which are kind of the lowest ranking pen type in the pen kingdom. Having said that, the Ohto Promecha is a really outstanding ballpoint with its super fine nib and its mechanical styling reminiscent of the Rotring pens of my youth. It’s silver too so it matches my toenails which can only be a good thing really.


What’s on Charlotte’s desk?

The USUS Pen

This USUS pen had been finding its way on to everyone’s desk before I decided to claim it as my own and give it permanent residence in my pen pot. I love this pen and not just because I have the pink one, but because of the innovative style and sleek design . Its unique and so easy to write with, I can’t fault it. Made in Germany this pen uses a supraspin® magnetic system , which means there is no need for springs and other bits and pieces (that can easily be lost) just twist and you’re ready to write! It is a perfect handbag pen, measuring in at only 120mm and a sure talking point when you pull it out! I also find myself twisting the USUS round and round just for fun, so a great time waster too. It does come in two other colours in the synthetic range as well as a few more in the aluminium but in all honesty I just love pink and I would recommend the USUS to anyone who wants a smart, stylish and brilliantly different pen for very reasonable price.

usus pen


New Lamy Scala pen

New Lamy pen due March 2012

lamy scala
Lamy Scala fountain and ballpoint pens

We have advanced news on the latest addition to the Lamy pen range – the Lamy Scala. Officially it is described as having ‘sophisticated and reserved presentation’. We would prefer to say that it is a classic-looking Lamy pen. Smart, sleek, modern, simple yet stylish details without the need to shout about how good a pen it is to write with. Which after all is what you want it for. Isn’t it?

There is a ballpoint and a fountain pen, and we are expecting these in stock sometime around the 27th March. We will make them available for pre-order soon.


New arrivals – a feast of Lamy

New Lamy stock just in

We’ve just received some new Lamy pens in this week – a mix of brand new items from Lamy and a few pens that we’ve not offered before for some reason. They look so tempting in their counter displays that I thought I would share them. The problem we have without a shop is that everything just sits on a shelf looking sad, and in a shop it would look lovely and shout ‘buy me’.

Lamy Tipo pens
Lamy Tipo pens

The Tipo pens now come in new limited edition white and mint colours, and we’ve also added the original metallic silver, blue and red Tipo pens to the range.  At just £4.50 for the plastic white and mint pens, and £6.75 for the aluminium version, the Tipo really is such a bargain. We love it, and everyone should have a Tipo.

Lamy Noto
Lamy Noto pens

The Noto pen was designed by Naoto Fukasawa and from the launch it was seen as being far more expensive than it actually is. At just £4.25 for a ballpoint pen with such an elegant design, again it demands to be owned. It’s not clear from the photo (sorry), but it comes in a lovely new ruby pink as well as a smart graphite blue.




Moleskine pens

Moleskine – pens and pencils

Moleskine pencil

Where next for the stationery brand that just grows and grows? We have taken delivery of our Moleskine pens and pencils now, and it is interesting to see how well they have been selling. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that such a well-known and popular brand would be able to move into other stationery products and do so well, but the early indications are that the pens are a big hit.

Our opinion is mixed on the pens – they have some great features not least the ability to clip it onto your Moleskine book cover and so always have a pen or pencil at the ready. Just slip the pen out of the clip, and slip it back it when finished. The pens have an unusual square look to them, although this makes more sense once clipped onto a Moleskine book as the pen shape complements the shape of the book. It is still a bold and unusual design decision, and possibly one that will only really appeal to Moleskine fans. Still, there’s enough people love the books to mean that shouldn’t be a problem.

If you opt for the more upmarket metal rollerball pen then you will also get a very nice presentation box – a sort of Moleskine book that opens to reveal the pen. A nice touch. The basic pen doesn’t come with any such frills, and is in all ways a more basic pen, with an all-plastic barrel. The pencils are very pleasing, although a 2B lead may not be so useful for writing, and may suit more artistic uses. The verdict? Inevitably the price is slightly higher because of the name, and the design is very individual, but when clipped onto a Moleskine book they make a lot of sense and should appeal to a Moleskine-lover.

Moleskine pens